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Information and Communication Technology Applied for Developing Countries in a Rural Context: Towards a Framework for Analysing Factors Influencing Sustainable Use
Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT.
Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT.
2007 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been considered a tool that can be used to achieve development goals in developing countries. In the same time, the majority of people living in developing countries, and especially those in rural areas lack access to ICT. Even if there have been many attempts to introduce ICT, they have in general not been long-lasting.

A framework for studying factors that influence use of ICT is desirable. We see it necessary to bring a sustainability aspect into the picture of ICT. In this work the requirement of ‘sustainable ICT use’ stresses that ICT is long-lasting and that ICT meets the needs of the user. Thus, the aim of this work is to develop a tool for conceptualisation that can support the understanding of the conditions for sustainable, and therefore successful, ICT projects in developing countries.

Our theoretical starting point is taken in the Information System (IS) theories. The theoretical base is then broadened to include theories on international development, theories on sustainable development, and theories on diffusion of innovations and transfer of technology. The theoretical foundation, together with four empirical studies, is used to answer the two research questions in this thesis. The first question is: Which are the critical factors influencing sustainable ICT use in developing countries? By using ‘critical factors’ we emphasise a focus on factors which are crucial (even if possibly not sufficient) for bringing about sustainable ICT use. This question is followed by a second question: How would a framework be structured to properly include these factors in order to support analyses of sustainable ICT use?

The framework has evolved through the identification of factors from four empirical studies. Forty-one factors were identified and sorted into fifteen subcategories of five major capital assets. The main contribution of our study is that of a generic framework, which can be used as a guideline for planning, implementation, and evaluation of ICT projects in a rural developing country context achieving sustainable ICT. As argued in this thesis technology is not the key resource; it is the combination and system of different resources distributed along a time and space dimension that is the key. With our framework we have demonstrated that the ICT artefact is not the sustainability tool, it is the combination of different resources that makes it sustainable and competitive.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Fakulteten för ekonomi, kommunikation och IT , 2007. , 280 p.
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2006:69
National Category
Information Science
Research subject
Information Systems
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-748ISBN: 91-7063-011-9OAI: diva2:6466
Prövad med skriftligt omdöme från opponenten enligt dekanusbeslut 2007-04-20
Available from: 2007-03-23 Created: 2007-03-23

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